Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent
Director : Paul King
I fell in love with Paddington the very first time I read the book in which he starred. That was a great many years ago, but I’ve always remembered with vast fondness the bear and the place of his origin, ‘darkest Peru’. Since then I’ve never been able to think of Peru without adding ‘darkest’ to it, and for years I thought all bears must be like the little furry fellow who shows up in London one fine day to find himself a forever home.
A movie based on a childhood favourite book can usually never measure up. But I was wonderfully surprised by ‘Paddington’ : the bear is not precious and cute, he is just curious and sweet, the way I remembered him. He stows away in a boat to come to London, in search of an explorer who gave his ( Paddington’s) family a taste of all things British, and, of all things, marmalade. And oh, the adventures he has.
The film has a full compendium of British veterans, and superbly combines live action and animation. Bonneville and Hawkins make a great pair, and Kidman makes evil sexy. Apart from all the comments about the weather and the rain, you get the plummy accents, and that very old-fashioned construct : civility and niceness. The film does a subtle transfer of the lump-in-the-throat message of the beloved book : you can be different, yes, but you can find a place to call your own. And a cuddly bear to bring it home.